Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi issued a stern warning Friday against any possible attack by the United States in retaliation for a strike that killed three American troops in Jordan.
“We have said many times that we will not be the initiator of any war, but if a country, a cruel force wants to bully, the Islamic Republic of Iran will respond firmly,” Raisi said during a visit to a Gulf naval base operated by the Revolutionary Guards.
Iran’s “military power in the region was not and is not a threat to any country,” but a source of security that countries in the region can rely on and trust, he said as he toured the base in Bandar Abbas.
“Today, the enemy has no ability to do anything against us; because they know that our forces are powerful and capable.”
The death of the American soldiers in a drone strike at a base in Jordan on Sunday marked the first US military losses to hostile fire in the region since the Israel-Hamas war broke out on October 7.
US President Joe Biden has blamed “radical Iran-backed militant groups” for the attack.
He said he has already decided on the nature of the US response to the deadly bombing, but has not detailed the plans in public, or the timing, while insisting that he is not seeking a wider war in the Middle East.
The White House warned that “multiple actions” could be taken in retaliation for the attack.
Biden is to oversee the return of the bodies to the United States on Friday, where they will be received with military honours.
Iran has denied any links to the attack and said it is not seeking an “expansion” of conflict in the Middle East.
Regional tensions have intensified since the Israel-Hamas war, drawing in Iran-backed groups in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen.
The Islamic republic has previously said it sees a “duty” to support what it calls “resistance groups” in the region, but insists they are “independent” in decision and action.